Archive for August, 2016

For The Love Of Sparky

August 29, 2016

There never seems to be enough time on trips back to Ireland to do all the things you think you’re going to do, or see all the people you want to see. I arrive in vacation mode, but guess what, my family and friends that live there, are NOT in vacation mode, cos, well, they live there. They have stuff like jobs and school and daily commitments and responsibilities, so it becomes a sometimes impossible dance where try as we might to work around each others schedules and availability, it just doesn’t happen. The last few trips home my good friend Nicola and I tried but failed, repeatedly, to get together. This trip however, we made it work. We (the boys and I) made it work by loading ourselves up in a compact rental car, drove the winding country roads of Navan, got lost more than once (yes, even an Irish native can still get lost in Ireland) but eventually found our way to the equestrian sanctuary Nicola calls home.

To say Keane was excited to be in the company of all these horses was a huge understatement.

After harassing Nicola for a good hour or so about the possibility of riding one of the horses, Nicola finally introduced him to “Sparky”.

Love at first sight. In Keane’s mind, Sparky was all his. Cullen thought he was grand, but wasn’t as enthusiastic about the idea of riding him.

This face here let me know that we were in trouble, Keane was going to want a horse all of his own now.

Nicola helps him helmet up for his big riding moment.

Time to lead Spark out.

Nothing but pure joy and excitement.

A pause for the horses to greet each other.

Now Cullen’s in heaven, Nicola has trucks.

Here we go with our first jumping lesson.

A quick check in with Cullen to see what he’s up to, fixing some tractors of course.

Nicola’s son Donnacha joins the party.

He and Cullen bond over all things truck.

Back to Keane and he’s working on his grab and place drills.

Donnacha’s turn.

Total pro.

Fence jumping sans horse.

The horses are back in the stables and we’re trying to round all the boys up for dinner, but Cullen found even more trucks and more sand, no way to get him away from this situation without a melt down, or is there?

Yep, the evening was so warm and pretty we decided to all eat outside and even allowed Cullen to bring one of the trucks to dinner.

Full and ready to bounce off some pre-bed hyperness.

2 Days of Summer

August 26, 2016

I held both the boys swimmie shorts in my hands and paused, “don’t be such a foolish optimist Shinks, its Ireland your headed to, now put those swimmies back in the drawer, better to use that space for rain jackets“. But Ireland had read my thoughts and Ireland was not impressed, so Ireland decided to stick it to me and for 2 days, just to teach me a lesson, Ireland let the summer in. Yes, 2 days of sunshine and heat and happy summer vibes. Obviously when gifted a situation such as that, in a country better known for all things precipitation, you’d be a fool not to cancel whatever it was you had planned and take yourself off to the beach for the day. So thats just what we did. The pessimistic non-swimmie packing ex-pats that we are, enjoyed a great day on the sandy Irish coast, with our Irish cousins, wearing our shorts and t-shirts (at least we had those).

Brittas Bay, Co. Wicklow.

So the weather was hot, but the water was cold, both Keane and Cullen made that very clear in this shot. But our cousin Emily appears to be immune.

Now we are acclimatized and bounding happily.

My nephew Nathan couldn’t be happier.

Fingers and toes in first.


You know what would have been handy here? Swimmies.

My brother, with 2/3 of his crew, Evan and Emily.

My sister-in-law Sarah gets the sand castle building under way.

Nathan, rocking the classic topless builder look.

Water war about to start.

Ocean babies.

Getting artsy.

Baby yoga.

Cullen desperate to hang with the big kids on the sand dunes.

He’s still on the up climb as Keane and Emily race down.

The explorers.

Travel & Farming

August 24, 2016

Those of you who follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram know that our trip over to Ireland was a bit of a nightmare. But what you don’t know is that the trip back, was even worse. More delays, more missed connections, more endless, exhausting, enraging hours spent at effing airports. But this time I didn’t take to the social medias to off-load and vent, cos honestly, the sound of my own whining was starting to piss even me off and honestly no.2, who the f#*k would believe it happened all over again??  No, best to shut up, power through or one could risk being labeled social media’s whiniest travel bitch. At the end of the day we made it there, we made it back and for the next few months we’ll be staying exactly where we are cos I’m still holding onto too much anger and resentment over all of the travel trauma.

Now that thats out of the way, we’ll focus on some of the fun things we got up to while visiting the homeland. Granddad took a few days off work so he could hang with the boys, and one of those days we went farming.

The boys fell in love with the rabbits. So much so that all I’ve heard since the farm is “can we get a rabbit?”. And so far I haven’t been able to come up with a good enough reason as to why we can’t, so there maybe rabbits in our future.

If Cullen shares his trucks with you its a huge deal. Trucks are his life. This rabbit was offered one of his tow trucks, this makes them forever friends.

Granddad and Keane befriend some geese.

A random lama.

Some not very shy goats.

A young reindeer.

We arrived at the stables in time to give the donkeys lunch.

Then it was time to feed the baby goats.

Either Granddad didn’t realize the go-carts were just for kids or he didn’t care.

Oh and there’s the rage of Cullen, cos no-one is pushing him.

A lot of effort going into getting this go-cart off and running.

One last visit with the rabbits before we left, but this time we got to hold one.

Breaking The Silence

August 22, 2016

I’m just here to break the silence. We’re not quite back into the swing of our regular, non-traveling lives yet, so you’ll have to wait a little bit longer before I unleash the overshare of photos. In the mean time here’s a shot that would lead you to believe that somehow en route to Ireland, we took a wrong turn and found ourself lost on a Mediterranean island. But no, this is in fact Ireland. Co. Wicklow to be exact and this is the type of weather we were lucky to experience for most of the trip.

Next Stop, Ireland

August 8, 2016

This week The Husband leaves for Rio to do his thing for the 33 athletes he has competing at the Olympics. And while he’s in Rio, we (the boys and I) are headed to Ireland. Our final trip of the summer, may as well make it a good one. I’m so excited for cooler temperatures and lots of fun with family and friends. We’ll be gone for 2 weeks, so the blog will be resting up and enjoying a little break of its own during that time. But it would be wrong of me to leave without giving you a little something to stare at in our absence. So how about 4 handsome little cousins hanging out and having a blast last week during our trip to Massachusetts, before its onwards to the Irish cousins.

Paul and James have a backyard zip line.

Paul shows Keane how its done.

Looking a little nervous but big cousin is on hand for some moral support.

Away we go!

He did it! Once Keane got a taste for the zip line, there was no getting him off it.

James bringing some personality to the zip.

Cullen showed zero interest in zipping, there was too much digging to be done.


Whats this?

A baby snake.

The curiosity. Close, but not too close.

Some road works were happening near Paul and James house so we took a walk to get a closer look at all the diggers and dirt.

Cullen and his love for vehicles and dirt.

In this moment all his dream are coming true.

James and Cullen.

Hot, dirty and hungry, back for lunch.

Paul and James were running in their first track meet while we were there so we all went along to support and cheer. But where’s Cullen??

With everyone distracted he saw an opportunity to cone steal.

Paul in hurdle action.

Speed demon.

Low-5 from Keane for a job well done.

James up next and I just had to include this photo of his competition and his “unique” hurdling technique.

James technique is a little more efficient.

Cullen offering post race snacks, thats he’s already eaten

James in the 100m.

Post meet and The Husband gives out American Track League t-shirts to all the competitors.

We call this “free advertising”.

The boys get ready to have a race of their own, but Keane is carrying some extra weight on his back.

This weight is not easily removed.

And we’re off!